UX CASE STUDY // PEGA DEVELOPER NETWORK
Pegasystems had a challenge. Their Pega Developer Network (PDN) was in need of a major overhaul. The Drupal 7 (content management system) site had hundreds of thousands of pieces of content—all irregularly formatted, improperly tagged and redundantly named. The inconsistency seemed to stem from a back end user interface that had few constraints for content authors. The content required a set of templates.
Pega reached out to Isovera Inc. to augment their team with a number of developers and designers. The devs worked on cleaning up taxonomies, feature updates, and migrating the site from Drupal 7 to 8. The other designer and I focused on assessing content and best ways to format relevant information. We also worked with Pega’s UX team to implement their brand new design system, and collaborated on journey mapping, use cases, and personas.
GOOD DESIGN ONLY LOOKS SIMPLE
With the help of Isovera’s Sr. UX designer’s site maps and content models, I was able to focus my energy on the best examples of various content types.
In order to break the team out of old ways of seeing their product, design elements were deconstructed and reordered in new ways. A wireframe color key allowed for quick scanning and helped identify like components. This process allowed the client to see what content existed without getting caught up in style discussions. This stage relied on consensus of content hierarchy.
By breaking apart each sample and highlighting various types of components, product owners were able to visually distill what needed to stay, what needed to go, and what needed to change. Once those discussions were had and decisions made, I was able to work much quicker to create high fidelity prototypes.
I added breadcrumbs and product version numbers for better orientation, consolidated relevant metadata elements, and clarified the feedback module.
THE TRUTH IS IN THE CODE
Design systems are enormous time savers once they are up and running. They prevent inconsistencies between designs and having to make repetitive decisions. They also allow for global updates in minutes. However, when working within a new and developing design system, issues can come up.
Since Pega's design system was still developing, there were no visual guidelines to follow. The “truth is in the code” I was told when asking about the proper use of colors, fonts, and other design elements. After a few design reviews and many, many questions, I became familiar with the minimally documented design system. Once in the groove, I produced a number of responsive templates fairly quickly.
Aside from templates, I enjoyed redesigning what had been a default component. The PDN’s article “book navigation” was difficult to understand. The labels were far too long and repetitive, but that was out of my control. What I could control was the color coding, spacing and typography. The button labels may in some instances still be three lines long, but now a user can tell apart a parent from a child article.
For the mobile version, I did away with the default “fall to bottom” behavior, and brought the whole book navigation into a single drop down at the top of the screen, renaming it “Table of Contents”. That way a user can find it without having to scroll an entire article before happening on this important tool.
Success came when the client was able to showcase the new PDN, now called Pega Community, at their annual conference. By Pega World 2018, the project had taken 6 months, about a dozen developers, half a dozen designers, and a number of stakeholders and other team members to make the launch possible. Hundreds of thousands of articles, documents, and other pieces of content had been migrated, cleaned up and redesigned. The consistency, improved readability, updated branding and overall user experience were very well received.
FROM THE CLIENT
"Kasia joined my team as part of a project to replatform and rebrand the Pega Discovery Network, one of Pega's most complex websites. She immediately integrated herself into the team and proved herself to be not only a very capable and thoughtful designer, but a fast and eager learner. Working with my lead designer Brian, the two of them very ably turned around the visual and interaction design of several core areas of functionality on the site rapidly, balancing short-term wins with longer-term vision. She's been able to immerse herself in the complexity of the work and tight deadlines while retaining her sense of humor, and being an overall delight to work with."
- Dani Nordin, Director of UX on the PDN project